Scientific Mosaic (Barseghyan-2018)

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This is a definition of Scientific Mosaic that states "A set of all epistemic elements accepted and/or employed by an epistemic agent."

Scientific Mosaic (Barseghyan-2018).png

This definition of Scientific Mosaic was formulated by Hakob Barseghyan in 2018.1

Scientonomic History

Acceptance Record

Here is the complete acceptance record of this definition:
CommunityAccepted FromAcceptance IndicatorsStill AcceptedAccepted UntilRejection Indicators
Scientonomy17 May 2020The definition became accepted as a result of the acceptance of the respective suggested modification.No21 February 2024The definition became rejected as a result of the acceptance of the respective modification. It was replaced by Rawleigh's 2022 definition.

Suggestions To Accept

Here are all the modifications where the acceptance of this definition has been suggested:

Modification Community Date Suggested Summary Date Assessed Verdict Verdict Rationale
Sciento-2018-0009 Scientonomy 8 October 2018 Accept the new definition of scientific mosaic as a set of all epistemic elements accepted and/or employed by the epistemic agent. 17 May 2020 Accepted Initially, the modification raised an objection from Patton who argued that the modification "is not acceptable at present, because it contains a term; epistemic agent, which has not yet been defined within scientonomy".c1 This objection received two counterarguments. According to Barseghyan, the lack of such a definition of epistemic agent should not "be taken as a reason for postponing the acceptance of the definition of scientific mosaic", since inevitably any taxonomy contains terms that "rely in their definitions on other (yet) undefined terms".c2 This point was seconded by Rawleigh who argued that the definition of scientific mosaic is to be accepted regardless of whether there is an accepted definition of epistemic agent, since "it's de facto accepted already that some agent is required to have a mosaic".c3 In early 2020, Patton dropped his objection as he found that there was "sufficient general understanding of what an epistemic agent is to accept this definition of the scientific mosaic, even without first accepting a definition of epistemic agent".c4 Additionally, Rawleigh argued that the definition is to be accepted since we have "already accepted the revised question-theory ontology".c5

Suggestions To Reject

These are all the modifications where the rejection of this definition has been suggested:

Modification Community Date Suggested Summary Date Assessed Verdict Verdict Rationale
Sciento-2022-0001 Scientonomy 28 February 2022 Accept a new model-theoretic definition of scientific mosaic, according to which, a scientific mosaic is a model of all epistemic elements accepted or employed by the epistemic agent. 21 February 2024 Accepted Nobody submitted opinions on this modification to the encyclopedia prior to the 2024 workshop. At the workshop, most of the discussion focused around the differences in wording between the earlier definition of scientific mosaic and the new one as formulated by Rawleigh. It was clarified that there is little difference in meaning between the definitions, but Rawleigh’s modification addressed the concern that the old language for describing a scientific mosaic was couched in terms of set theory, which Jamie Shaw pointed out would pose a problem for how we typically talk about mosaics (classifying mosaics by their number of elements is not particularly helpful for scientonomers). The new model-theoretic definition seemed more intuitive to some members of the community, even though neither definition commits to any syntactic view of theories. Some members of the community did not vote on the modification given their lack of experience with set theory, but overall the modification was accepted by over a two-thirds majority of voters. 13 out of 15 votes were to accept.

Question Answered

Scientific Mosaic (Barseghyan-2018) is an attempt to answer the following question: What is scientific mosaic? How should it be defined?

See Scientific Mosaic for more details.


According to this definition, scientific mosaic encompasses all accepted and employed epistemic elements. The definition is compatible with the ontology of epistemic elements that considers questions and theories (including methods as a sub-type of normative theories) as the only two fundamental types of epistemic elements. In addition, by not referring to any epistemic element explicitly, the definition also purports to be compatible with any future ontology of epistemic elements insofar as that ontology assumes that elements can be accepted and employed.


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Questions About This Definition

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  1. ^  Barseghyan, Hakob. (2018) Redrafting the Ontology of Scientific Change. Scientonomy 2, 13-38. Retrieved from